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Towards an Integrated Theory of Strategy

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Strategic Management Journal

Published online on


Research summary We develop an integrative approach to the study of strategic management in a four‐step logical sequence. First, we discuss one of the rare conceptual frameworks of integrated firm strategy, introduced by Coda (1984). Second, we focus on competitive, growth, and stakeholder strategies and identify four integrative mechanisms underlying the creation of joint outcomes from the combination of different strategic choices. Third, we study how these mechanisms might allow specific binary combinations of strategic choices to create higher levels of value for stakeholders. Lastly, we study the likelihood of alternative three‐way bundles of strategies to generate the highest expected value. This analysis identifies two bundles of strategic decisions that can potentially maximize performance outcomes. Managerial Summary Our integrative approach to strategic management can potentially contribute to the improvement of managerial decision making in three main ways. First, by raising managers’ awareness that decisions in different strategic domains – e.g. competitive, growth, and stakeholder strategies – produce joint effects on value created for stakeholders and, thus, should be selected as an internally coherent bundle. Second, by identifying the factors that influence different strategic decisions and the consequent production of joint results. Some of these factors can be directly learnt and leveraged by managers to shape a more internally coherent and effective portfolio of strategic decisions. Third, by proposing specific bundles of internally coherent choices that might provide useful reference points within the context of the three strategies considered.